Wayne Besen and I Get Podcasted

Candace Chellew over at Whosoever.org interviewed me a few months ago about my ex-gay experiences and my performance work. In her most recent podcast, presents my interview and also an interview with Wayne Besen, writer of the book Anything But Straight–Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth and the founder of the new organization Truth Wins Out.

The ninth podcast, or “Godcast” from Whosoever: An Online Magazine for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Christians, features interviews with two men intimately involved with so-called “ex-gay ministries” – but actor and writer Peterson Toscano and activist and author Wayne Besen have two different approaches to fighting the “ex-gay” industry.

It amazes me how many people (ex-gay, ex-ex-gay, gay) are terrified by Wayne Besen. Of course I have never seen him in action in front of the cameras, but having had meals with him and meeting privately, I am always impressed with his passion, intellect and commitment.

One ex-gay leader warned me to stay away from Wayne, naming Wayne the Fred Phelps of the gay world.

It’s true that Wayne and I approach our activism in different ways, and I may not always agree with all of his choices, but I value what he does. In fact, what he does is essential. He articulates the dangers and the lies of ex-gay organizations and ideology powerfully. I feel so grateful for his work.
Have a listen to Whosoever Podcast #9

This post has 7 Comments

  1. Peterson Toscano on November 13, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    I am so glad you have begun to visit my blog!

  2. KJ on November 13, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the tip, Peterson!

    Ever feel any pressure that you speak for so many of us?

    Now do you?

  3. Bruce Garrett on November 13, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    I saw Wayne at the Love Won Out protests in Silver Spring earlier this year, and gave him and Lance Carroll a ride to the Metro afterward. Wayne seemed to me to be a completely pleasant to get along with kinda guy. But no-nonsense when it came to his work. While he worked the protest line, and in particular while he dealt with the various media people who came along, he was always very professional, very polished.

    I think what frightens the ex-gay leadership about Wayne is that he’s not only exceptionally knowledgeable about the history of their movement, and it’s various inner workings, but that he’s also a very articulate speaker in front of a camera. I watched him give interviews at the protest and was both impressed and gladdened by his degree of media savvy. He is good in front of a camera. He knew his facts, he had his message and he stayed on it, without seeming mechanical or doctrinaire. He came off as someone who simply and thoroughly knew what they were talking about, and could talk about it in depth or just give quick little effective soundbites, without loosing the listener. I’ve been to a Lot of protests in my life, and it’s a rare thing when protestors can get someone like that in front of a camera to make their case.

    Between them both, Wayne and Lance (Lance was very calm and composed and articulate throughout the camera interviews), they really did a good job presenting the other side of the case to the media that came to the protests. Any comparison between him and Fred Phelps is just gratuitous hate of the sort D.L. Foster engaged in a while back, when he put a graphic up on his web site of Wayne with a Hitler moustache. Wayne isn’t preaching hate, he isn’t trying to inflame religious passions, and he isn’t telling lies about anyone.

  4. Elliot on November 14, 2006 at 1:48 am

    Boy, you just rock! You rock SO much!

  5. Peterson Toscano on November 14, 2006 at 2:47 am

    kj, um yeah. why do you think I visit so many blogs and listen to so many people’s experiences. I need to shape my view by hearing about the lives of others. I guess that is why I encourage so many people to share their stories.

    Bruce, well said. Wayne serves as a huge threat to the exsgay movement and he isn’t going away anytime soon.

    elliot, no YOU rock! You’re latest blog entry is amazing.

  6. Willie Hewes on November 14, 2006 at 10:25 am

    Phelps? Oh come on. Yes, he’s a little angry sometimes, but that’s uncalled for.

    I’ll have a listen when I get home.


  7. Candace Chellew on November 15, 2006 at 11:47 am

    Peterson, thanks for plugging the podcast. Sorry it took me so long to get it all together. I hope your fans enjoy it! I enjoyed talking with you. I agree with elliot – you do, indeed, rock.

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